Monday, August 19, 2013

Feeling Nostalgic, Mom & Nesselrode Pie

Growing up in Brooklyn had its perks, we had great restaurants "back in the day".  Sundays were our family's day to hit one of the few that were my parents' favorites.  Tappans (long gone) in Sheepshead Bay was top on the list and where I learned to appreciate seafood, developing a taste for raw clams and lobster at a very early age.
My mom, though no longer here is here as I think of her daily and sometimes I feel I get a "visit" because I just googled one of her favorite desserts, Nesselrode Pie.  After one of her ultra rich dinners consisting of Lobster Thermidor, mom always had room for the equally rich dessert she loved, Nesselrode Pie.
I don't think there is anywhere in New York (or anyplace else for that matter) that still serves this mid-century modern dessert on its menu but I found a recipe.
I'm not a big cook or baker but one day might consider trying this in memory of my mom.  Funny, I don't even remember if I liked it or if I just settled for my scoop of chocolate ice cream at the end of dinner, but I so remember my mother adoring this dessert.
Thanks for the memories mom, miss you so much.

For crumb crust:
  • 1½ c. chocolate cookie crumbs (I used Trader Joe’s chocolate cat cookies)
  • 2 T sugar
  • ½ c. butter
For the filling:
  • ½ cup finely diced candied fruit (I used red and green pineapple for color and texture and candied orange peel)
  • ⅓ cup rum
  • 1½ c. heavy cream, divided into ¾ c. and ¾ c.
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 tablespoon gelatin
  • ⅓ cup cold water
  • ½ c. sweetened chestnut puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 egg whites, beaten until stiff
For crumb crust:
  1. Process sugar and crumbs in food processor.
  2. Melt butter, combine with sugar and crumbs.
  3. Press into a 9 inch pie plate until firm (I use the bottom of a glass to press it in.
  4. Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes, let cool.
For the filling:
  1. Pour rum over the fruits, let macerate for at least one hour.
  2. Bring ¾ c. cream to a simmer. Beat egg yolks with sugar until pale yellow. Whisk in part of the hot cream, then return the eggs to the remainder of the cream and whisk over low heat until the mixture is thickened. Fold in chestnut puree.
  3. Meanwhile, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a small bowl. When the gelatin has absorbed the water and the custard is thickened, whisk the gelatin into the cream and eggs mixture. Refrigerate until firm.
  4. Break up the firmed custard with some vigorous stirring. Beat the egg whites until stiff and whip the remaining cream. Fold the macerated fruits (with the rum), the whipped cream and the beaten egg whites into the chestnut custard mixture. Pour into the prepared pie shell.
  5. Chill until firm, and garnish with curls of chocolate.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Nine Months

A lot can happen in nine months.  Most women think of nine months as the time they spend waiting for their new arrival.  
For me and so many others in my neighborhood and surrounding areas, nine months has been a long period of regrouping, rebuilding and trying to push forward.
Nine months have gone by so quickly yet so much is still so wrong.  The seasons have changed but the green never came back to most of the trees, lawns and shrubbery.  Trees are still waiting to be cut down all turned a sad, sick looking brown from the toxic water that hit them when super storm Sandy hit us nine months ago today.  
Nine long months, I still can see the water coming up when I close my eyes.  A shiver goes down my spine when we have a big rain.  But mostly, I still hear and see my two outside cats that didn't make it through the storm.  I took care of them for many years and I tried so hard to take care of them when Sandy hit but I wasn't able to save them.  The water came up in a surreal manner and they thought they were safe where they usually hide in bad weather.  Sadly they weren't.  I wonder if I will ever forgive myself even though I know I did everything I possibly could, that this was a horrendous act of nature beyond my control.
Everyone here has a story, everyone is in one stage or another of repair.  People lost relatives, friends, pets.
I wonder when the pain from that fateful day will pass.  I wonder when I will hear New Jersey's slogan "We're Stronger Than the Storm" and not get a lump in my throat and turn the sound down on the TV.  I hate that slogan.  We weren't stronger than the storm and it is foolish to think anyone can fool an act of nature.
My heart goes out to anyone facing hurricane season yet again.  Nature seems to have the real plan for all of us, big or small and as John Lennon so eloquently sang "life is what happens while you're busy making other plans".  It certainly did.
Rest in peace Mickey and Blackie.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Lady Liberty Reopens July 4, 2013

It's been a little longer than eight months since Hurricane Sandy hit.  Life has dramatically changed for so many of us including one of the most important monuments of our country, The Statue of Liberty.

How fitting that on the day our country celebrates its independence, The Statue of Liberty welcomed its first visitors in more than eight months.  New York has not given in to the storm, we won't give in.

Happy Birthday America and welcome back Lady Liberty!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Remembering Davy Jones

When something monumental occurs on February 29th also known as Leap Year, does that mean it really didn't happen? Does it mean that the event is commemorated or remembered on the day before or the day after that fateful day?
On February 29, 2012, a part of my childhood was taken away as we lost Davy Jones of the Monkees suddenly to a heart attack. Honestly, I can't believe a year has gone by even though my life was also dramatically changed by what is now called "Super Storm" Sandy.  The year since last February 29th and the months since Sandy seem to have flown by, one day blending into the next.  What was once "normal" in many ways no longer is.
It was last year on a Wednesday at about 1:50 pm that I had my car radio on and heard Monkees songs rather than Beatles songs on what is usually "Beatles Wednesday".  My mind raced for a moment and then the DJ said the words that I will never forget, that Davy had passed away.  
I had the pleasure of experiencing the talent of Davy in concert. He was a special man whose life will live on in the music he left, his daughters and the fund that was created in his memory to care for his beloved horses.  He was a man who loved to make people happy, it was so evident watching him perform, it was in his blood. Not a day has gone by that I haven't wished there was a rewind button for life -- this was a huge loss for the many who loved him, for his beloved family and pets.
So today March 1st, because there is no February 29th, I remember Davy Jones and all he stood for and contributed to our world.  He will never be forgotten.

Click here to visit The Davy Jones Equine Memorial Fund

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sandy, Three Months Later

Caramia's Collection was heavily impacted by the super storm known as "Sandy".  Located in the Rockaways in New York, we are in one of the hardest hit areas.  There were people who suffered more and people who suffered less, there is no way to truly gauge the havoc the storm created for each individual unless you've lived it.  The loss of memories, material things and the emotional impact is monumental.
As a business, we lost a lot of inventory and thought Caramia's Collection was surely finished due to the lack of power, internet and no postal service to name just a few of the obstacles we faced in the immediate aftermath of the storm.  What happened a few days after Sandy hit was my miracle.  I was able to to get a call through to someone I have treasured as a mentor and friend for several years.  I asked her to close down my business as I had no access to it.  Instead, she put her thinking cap on and came up with an idea.  
First let me tell you, this friend is a fellow eBayer, PowersellingMom aka Danna Crawford.  In my moment of uncertainty and panic, not just how I would handle my business but also how to attempt to recover from the devastation I faced, Danna kept her cool and asked if there was any way I could put a package together and ship it to her and I said, yes, one package would be manageable. She told me she would "text" me my sales, write to my buyers about the shipping delay due to Sandy and basically run my business from her home base in Florida!  What a turn of events, a Floridian used to hurricanes running the business of a die hard New Yorker who had just experienced the most horrific of storms.  
Danna texted my first list to me.  Without electricity and heat, I took advantage of the daylight and my trusty flashlight and looked for the items sold, packaged them up individually and then put together one large box.  I was able to have the package shipped to Danna, who then printed postage from my account and shipped my items from Florida.  Does this require faith and trust?  It sure did, but I had no doubt that the person I was trusting my business with could and would handle this as if it were her own.
We had our own version of a long distance assembly line and used the system twice with no problems.  This is what true friendship and teamwork is all about.
I am forever grateful to Danna Crawford for her help in keeping my eBay business going during this crazy time in my life.  I am grateful also to the buyers who were so kind and understanding, some even writing me follow up emails wishing me and my family well.  I am also so grateful for all the well wishes I have received from the eBay community and friends I have made on FaceBook.  I may not have thanked everyone individually but I want everyone to know that I am so appreciative of the outpouring of warmth.
Caramia's Collection did get internet back after several weeks and we're trying to get the business back up to speed.  We still do not have a local post office and are unsure of when it will be back up and running.  Sadly, one of our local mail carriers passed away in the storm.  His smile and friendly attitude when I would stop him on my way to the post office with packages to "save me a trip to the post office" will never be forgotten.
Three months after the storm, I want to say a great big thank you to Danna, you stepped up to the plate and hit a home run for me. I hope no one ever has to experience what my family and I and all the others in our area have gone through and are continuing to face on a daily basis.  I do hope that if a time of need does arise, that you have a friend who will "have your back" like I do.